I’m Happy To Be A SOB

November 4, 2008

I had a pretty unproductive week last week. So I was delighted when I discovered that I’ve been made an official SOB. Not the type of SOB you’re thinking though - Liz Strauss of Successful Blog has chosen me has one of her Successful And Outstanding Bloggers.

This is brilliant news for me, as I often struggle with the various different aspects of blogging - especially trying to write for the different types of people who drop by here.

Liz Strauss is the Queen of conversational blogging. And I’ve learned heaps from her, through her blog and also, from her excellent book - How To Be A Successful And Outstanding Blogger. You can check out my review of Liz’s book here: The Blogging Advice That Kept Me Up All Night.

Speaking of successful and outstanding blogs, I’d like to share some excellent things I’ve been reading recently.

First up is Betsy Wuebker’s “Ghosts”. If you’ve had enough of Halloween, don’t worry, this is no ordinary Ghost story. Betsy shares her communications with a loved one who died. It’s an astonishing story.

Next is Artur Urbanksi’s, “I Met Stalin”. This a true story about the hardships one family went through, as a result of communism. Artur’s mother took extraordinary risks to help other members of her family and Artur shares this in his amazing story. I first read, “I Met Stalin” on a blog where Artur had guest posted. But the post has now been removed and Artur has moved it to his own blog.

If you’ve had some disasterous past relationships and keep meeting “the wrong type of people”, Getting A New Relationship Story by Anna Conlan is just what you need. A friend of mine keeps making the same relationship mistakes over and over, so I found Anna’s post at an excellent time. She explains why people keep attracting folk who are wrong for them and what they can do about it.

Adam and Eve Part 2: A Kick In The Teeth

August 21, 2008

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
Walt Disney


This is a series post on the effects of bad relationships on business and success. It’s about fictional characters - Adam and Eve. You’ll probably enjoy the story more if you read Part 1: Relationships, Are You Kissing Goodbye To Success?

Eve Gets A Kick In The Teeth

Eve is bleeding knackered and she’s beginning to hallucinate. So she tells Adam she’s had enough and he beats her up - even though she tries to escape. This has happened to Eve before but she doesn’t know who to tell. So she goes into work and when her staff ask what’s wrong, she says she fell.

She’s still enjoying her work. The business is doing great. And a few weeks later, Adam says, “Hey Eve, you don’t need to work here anymore. The business can run itself. Why don’t you take a break?”

But Eve does something strange now - something beyond Adam’s belief. And what caused this new behaviour was a metaphorical kick in the teeth.

She doesn’t want to leave the business that she saved and built. And if she’s not there running it, they’ll be in shit up to the hilt. “I’m legally a partner now - I’m staying and that’s a fact. And if you think it can run itself then you really are a twat. But don’t worry I’ll just stay long enough to get my money back.”

Adam is annoyed now - Eve usually believes his bullshit. Plus she’s always working - he wants to go out with his girlfriend while she babysits the kids. And the business is making money now, but she won’t let him spend it. And that’s really pissing Adam off, because he’s told his girlfriend he’s loaded.

Cashflow Isn’t Important Right?

So Adam takes a break from fun, to pay a visit to the bank. There’s heaps of money in there - well over ten grand ($20,000). It’s for something called cashflow, Eve said - but he thinks that’s a load of shit. He needs to have that money now to prove that he is rich. So he withdraws every single penny. Eve won’t have a clue. He’ll tell her the ATM swallowed their card and hide the bank statement too.

Now Eve might be too trusting, but she’s not exactly stupid. And when the bank statement doesn’t come, she asks them to send a copy. And when it finally arrives and she sees what Adam has done, she calls a locksmith right away and has the locks changed on their home.

Then she meets with Adam and tells him, “One of us must go.” And Adam smiles because he thinks he’s won but there’s something he doesn’t know. “I’m prepared to leave the business,” Eve says knowing she’d have the last laugh. “The only thing is, if you stay, you won’t have any staff.”

It doesn’t take Adam long to realize he his done. How can he work and have no staff - he’d have no time for fun. But to be fair to Adam - Eve happily agrees, to pay off his fun bank loan and as for his personal credit cards, she’ll take care of some of these.

The Urban Myth - All Business Owners Are Rich

She doesn’t know how she’ll manage, but she sees no other way. She’ll have to delay her creditors and find more work so she can pay.

Eve knows Adam won’t go easily, so she’s not really surprised, when her phone rings at all hours, cos he’s told his family lies. “You’ve made our Adam homeless,” Adam’s mother said, “The poor little lad’s wandering the streets, he’s got no roof over his head.”

Now Eve has plenty of problems and she doesn’t need this shit. Adam’s family must be thick if they don’t realise where he is. She’s avoiding paying bills until her finances are better. But all these calls are driving her mad, then she gets a solicitor’s letter:

“Adam is entitled to receive a massive wage and live the lifestyle he’s become accustomed to - and this will have to be paid by you.”

By now Eve is livid. Adam obviously hasn’t been honest about the state he left the business in. So she crumples up the letter and throws it in the bin.

Money Doesn’t Last Forever

A few months later on, Adam is feeling sad. He’s running out of money and he’s heard Eve isn’t doing bad. He’s not a partner in the business anymore and the thought of Eve making money, is really making him mad.

But he has a secret weapon - access to Eve’s account. He’s been taking money in dribs and drabs - and now he wants more out.

His new job is an easy one. Who said crime doesn’t pay? Adam is quite happy robbing Eve’s bank account every single day. Soon he’s taking a grand ($2000) a week. It’s better than a job he thinks and hopes she doesn’t click.

Helping Yourself To Money Earned By Another Is Theft

Eve’s pissed off when she realises her business account is being robbed again. She’s been on at the bank for months, but they keep messing her about. All the money Adam is taking is cash that she has earned. But her solicitor says she can’t do a thing until the bank changes the account - it really is a pain.

Ten weeks pass by and Adam’s still robbing Eve’s earnings blind. So Eve calls her bank manager’s assistant, but records of these daily transactions is something he can’t find. And as for changing the bank account, he apologises but these things take a lot of time.

Eve’s had enough by now, the bank is having a laugh. And as for her solicitor, she wonders if he and her bank manager are partners in golf. So she calls the bank’s helpline and they find the transactions straight away. Adam’s been using his passport for ID. Eve’s says, “fuck - you mean they let someone do that - every single day?”

So Eve goes into the bank on Saturday, when the bank manager isn’t there. And aside from a few direct debits to go out - she leaves the business account bare. Her bank manager isn’t happy when he sees what she has left. So he writes to her and reminds her, she needs to keep paying, Adam’s fun loan debt.

Eve sends the bank one payment, accompanied by a letter - unless the bank send itemized proof of Adam’s theft - they can go fug themselves - she isn’t their debtor.

Well, things got a lot worse for Adam and Eve. Do you think Eve did the wrong thing staying in the business until she got her money back? What would you have done? Did she do the right thing throwing Adam out of the business and the house? And do you think she has the slimmest chance of getting her money back? Each time there’s been cash in the bank, Adam has taken it - will this send the business down the tubes?

This is a series post. If you’d like to read the final part of the series, click here to subscribe in a reader.

Relationships: Are You Kissing Goodbye To Success?

August 20, 2008

Did you know that staying in a bad close relationship can put the kiss of death on your chances of success in business or life?

Now, I’m not suggesting that everyone go out and get divorced to improve their chances of success.
Some broken relationships are fixable, if both parties involved actually want to fix them. But in some cases, ending a relationship is the only choice - especially if your partner is a serial adulterer and/or physically or mentally abuses you.

And a relationship can also suffer when those involved are not supporting the goals and ambitions of the other. That is what happened to Adam and Eve.

Business And Relationship Disasters - A Case Study: Adam and Eve

Eve Has A Dream

Adam and Eve get married. Eve is a creative woman. Ever since she can remember, she’s wanted to work in design. So she’s training to become a web designer and she’s working on building her portfolio. It’s going to be a long hard slog but Eve loves this work.

Adam Wants To Be A Millionaire

Adam has never really had any ambitions. And he thinks Eve’s a nutter. She spends hours and hours working and she doesn’t make much cash. She says it’s part of the learning process, but he couldn’t be bothered with that.

Adam just wants to make shedloads of money, but he doesn’t know how to get it. Then someone down the pub tells him that there’s a fortune to be made in the landscape gardening business. Adam doesn’t know squat about gardening, or starting a business. But he likes gardens and he’s missed that beautiful garden of Eden since he got kicked out.

So Adam starts his landscape gardening business. He doesn’t really know what he’s doing, but he’ll manage. After all, it’s supposed to be easy money, so he’s not going to waste his time learning about business.

If Becoming a Millionaire Was That Easy - Everyone Would Be Doing It

Adam gets bored quickly. This business lark his harder than he thought. He’s making bugger all and the bank won’t lend him more.

So he says, “Hey Eve. My business would do really well if I had the cash to buy this new equipment that everyone is raving about. Lend me your life savings will you.”

Eve isn’t too keen. They were already using her life savings to live on, as Adam isn’t making any money. And she’d hoped to use the rest to fund her web design business. But Adam needs the cash and he’ll pay her back once his business starts doing well.

So, Eve hands all her money over to Adam and takes a full-time job to keep food on the table and pay the bills. And she spends the rest of her time working on her web design business and looking after the kids.

Having More Money To Spend Doesn’t Make You Rich

And Adam is as happy as a little pig among shit, because Eve has given him all this money. He uses his credit cards to pay off some of his debts and get people off his back. And he decides to use the money Eve lent him to have fun. Screw the new equipment - he’s rich now, so he doesn’t need to work hard.

Never Catch A Falling Knife

A few months later, Adam is back to square one. Eve’s money has ran out and he’s built up even more debt while he was having fun. So, he takes out one huge bank loan to pay it all off, but he doesn’t pay Eve back - why should he? She is his wife after all. But he’s left with a huge problem. His business still isn’t profitable and nobody will lend him any more money.

So Adam says, “Hey Eve. You’ve got to help me out, or my business will go down the tubes. You’re faster at learning than me, so you can work it all out. And besides, I don’t know why you’re wasting all your time on that web design thing. Everybody knows there’s heaps more money to be made in landscape gardening.”

Eve is pissed off. Adam has wasted all the money she needed to grow her web design business. And if she doesn’t help him - she won’t get a penny back. So she packs in her job and quits working on her web design business to help Adam out. She learns about his business as she goes along and puts in all her waking hours.

Business Is Booming

Adam decides to relax a bit more. Business is doing great. He’ll let Eve get on with it while he has a bit more fun. Eve is exhausted. She’s stopped the business from going bust and it’s beginning to do well. But, she’s only getting four hours sleep a night and she doesn’t really have a life outside of the business.

What mistakes have Adam and Eve and Eve made so far? And what advice would you give them?

To read the rest of the story and discover what happens to Adam and Even, click here to subscribe in a reader.


Image Credit: Spojeni

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Toxic Relationships - Does Blood Matter?

July 13, 2008

If you’ve ever been in a toxic relationship, you’ll understand the damage it can cause to your life and your business. Fortunately, you can escape from most toxic relationships. If you have a friend who constantly puts you down, you can slam the door in their face. And if you have a marital partner who abuses you, or puts you down - it may be difficult - but you can and should get rid of them.

But what happens when you’re in a toxic relationship with a close family member? Do you cut them out of your life too, or do you maintain the relationship for the sake of everyone else in the family? I used to think the latter was the case but I realise now that I was wrong.

In this post, Brett Legree mentions the importance of patching things up with a family member. But, RL David points out that if that family member is abusive, it’s not always a smart idea to attempt to patch things up.

And I think they’re both right. If you’ve had an argument or a fall out with a relative, it’s often best to patch things up. But, if a relative has mentally, or physically abused you for years, or put you down continuously, you would be doing yourself a huge favour if you cut them out of your life.

It’s difficult to build the lifestyle and business you want, if this type of relationship continues. For a start if someone is putting down everything you do - it erodes your confidence, no matter how much you try to fight against it.

You’ve probably heard that the more you tell yourself you’re good at something, the more you’ll believe it. Unfortunately, the same is true when someone puts you down. You only need to be told you’re useless at something a few times before you believe it’s true.

And believe me, no matter how great, or real your achievement is, it’s easy for your mind to be deceived. For example, over the last few years, I’ve worked really hard, often putting in far too many hours. And financially, this hard work paid off, well, I made enough to live comfortably - even though the rest of my life was lacking.

Then a toxic relative began to tell me that I was lazy and I hadn’t worked for years. I found this a bit odd to say the least and I did wonder if it was some kind of joke, as I was running my own business and putting in more than 80 hours a week. But they continued to make this comment. And I was used to being put down by this particular person, so I did my best to ignore it.

A little while later I discovered that they’d obviously passed this lie on to another relative as they said exactly the same thing to me. I shrugged it off - how are you supposed to respond when someone makes such a ridiculous and untrue comment about you? But the final straw came when I overheard two neighbours talking and one of them was saying that they’d heard I was lazy and I hadn’t worked for years. I have no idea what they think I’ve been living on for all this time - maybe they think I’m a drug dealer or something?

Now - at this time, I was still putting in ridiculous hours. And even though this rumour my toxic relative started was completely untrue - the opposite of the truth in fact, I began to start questioning myself. Had I imagined all this hard work I’d been doing? Had it all been a dream? Luckily, I have worked with my husband for the past few years and when I confided in him, he quickly confirmed that I had indeed worked extremely hard.

But this really emphasises the power of the information that your subconscious hears. I was beginning to believe something that I knew to be untrue - just because I’d heard it several times. If you’re in a toxic relationship, I hope this will give you some idea of the damage it can cause you.

The Warning Signs

1. Do you feel as though you’re walking on eggshells whenever you’re around that person?

2. Do you dread christmas and other family get togethers as you know your toxic relative will do their best to make you feel bad and you simply won’t enjoy yourself?

3. Have you begun questioning your own abilities - for example, is there an area of your life where you’ve done well, but your relative has put you down and told you you’re useless at it? Has this affected your belief in yourself?

4. If you try to defend yourself does your toxic relative put you down further - insinuating that there’s something wrong with you because of the way you’ve reacted? (think Sue Ellen in Dallas, when JR deliberately put her down because he knew it would make her drink more - or something similar).

5. Has your toxic relative gone as far as to put you down while you’re not there and tell lies about you to those around you?

6. When you know you have to be around that person, do you find yourself hoping they’ll be nice to you for a change?

7. Are you afraid that your toxic relative will physically abuse you, if you try to defend yourself, or disagree with something they’ve said?

8. Do you feel as though you’re unable to express your own point of view in front of that person?

9. Does your toxic relative constantly say untrue things about you? Are you afraid to correct them because it might cause trouble?

Some toxic relatives will do or say certain things, because that’s what they’ve learned from others. And if they realised that their behaviour was upsetting you - they’d do something about it. Sadly, this probably isn’t the case if they’ve been doing some of the things listed above and especially if this behaviour has been going on for years.

And I could give you a heap of claptrap and bullshit about ways you could respond and how to protect yourself against your toxic relative. But I’m not going to, because I don’t believe it’s true. If someone constantly abuses you and puts you down, they have a big problem. It’s not your responsibility to fix them and you certainly shouldn’t allow them to carry on harming you.

Bullies usually know exactly what they’re doing and they continue because they derive a great deal of satisfaction from making the other person feel bad. And if you continue to allow them to treat you that way, it will affect your self-esteem, you’ll lose confidence in yourself and it will affect your relationships with others around you.

If you feel safe doing so by all means, confront the bully and ask them why they feel the need to do this to you. If this doesn’t work out, you could try writing to them and explaining how their behaviour has made you feel. But I have to tell you that if you reach this point, your letter is unlikely to make much difference to your toxic relative. The chances are, they probably don’t care how much they’ve harmed you, as that was their intention to begin with. However, writing things down will probably make you feel a whole heap better - even if you decide not to send the letter.

Lastly, make it clear that you want no more contact with your toxic relative, if they’re not willing to change their behaviour towards you. That may seem a little harsh, but whilst you’re in a relationship that is causing you harm, you’re unlikely to achieve the lifestyle you want, or realise your goals and dreams.

Do you have a toxic relative? Or do you know others who have a relative who abuses them emotionally or physically, and/or is always putting them down?

Do you think it is healthy to stay in that type of relationship to please other family members? Or, if the abuser is unwilling to change, do you think it’s best to cut them out of your life, no matter how closely related you are? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Image Credits

Warning sign by Oskay.

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